How we're helping
We are keen to play a leading role in this challenge. We want to contribute:
- our specific knowledge from 190 years of maritime lifesaving
- our desire to learn, adapt and share
- our commitment and capacity to help communities tackle drowning.
We support the World Health Organization's (WHO) proposals for reducing global drowning, which include:
- All countries should implement proven drowning prevention strategies, tailored to their own circumstances and risk groups.
- All countries should take steps to improve data about drowning.
- All countries should aim to develop a national water safety plan.
A world where nobody should drown
Our lifesaving programmes will drastically improve the chances of people surviving in and around water. To have the greatest impact, we’ll be working with partners on three distinct approaches - at a global, national and local level. You can get an overview of the RNLI’s international programmes in this short film:
We’re building alliances within and beyond the drowning prevention community, so that we understand more about drowning, interventions and their impacts. This will also raise the issue on the right international agendas so that it’s addressed in a coordinated way by global decision makers.
We want to make sure that drowning reduction measures are addressed by international organisations and are included in global policies and standards.
We’ll be testing a strategy, based on the WHO’s proposed 7 steps for developing a national plan, to see if a more collaborative and integrated national approach reduces the risk of drowning.
Over the next 3-4 years we will be supporting in-country pilot projects that will initially focus on a region rather than the whole country, with activity based on evidence and proven interventions. We’re targeting this work within Bangladesh and a country in East Africa, to be chosen soon. An international working group will help us work with at least two other countries to achieve similar outcomes.
The third approach builds on the RNLI’s existing expertise to equip communities with the skills to be resilient to specific drowning risks. This could include flood rescue, aquatic survival or beach lifeguarding interventions - ultimately communities will be better trained and equipped to limit the dangers they face locally.
Where is the RNLI working?
More than 90% of drownings occur in low- and middle-income countries where daily life brings men, women and children into contact with open water hazards.
This is why the RNLI is focusing its international efforts in the places where its impact will be felt most. Currently, we are supporting the following projects: